So, Why Start Your Own Practice?
Perhaps a better question to evaluate is why not start your own practice? Sure, a solo practice is intimidating and certainly not the right path for every attorney – but there are far more caveats to consider than just the paralyzing fear of hanging your own shingle. Self-reliance is both liberating and debilitating, the former is proven true through the control you take over your own work and life when you decide to commit to a solo practice. The latter becomes true only when you lose faith in your own ability. In any entrepreneurial endeavor, there are risks to be considered, but the benefits of being your own boss far outweigh the self-imposed costs. Of course, some of the most obvious benefits are luxuries like deciding your own schedule, determining the niche of your practice, and having the ultimate say over your clientele. As a solo practitioner, you develop your own culture both inside and outside of the office, a feat not always achievable at larger-than-life legal practices with attorneys in every corner of the globe.
There is also something to be said about the feeling of successfully wearing a number of hats all at once – you are an attorney, a businessperson, and an advocate for your clients, and for yourself. What a tremendous accomplishment if you can successfully master wearing all of those hats. For me, the ability to run a successful business was the most challenging yet rewarding task I have chosen to tackle in my professional career. I was an entrepreneur at heart – I had been trained to be a competent attorney but what I lacked and what I knew the least about was how to run a business. I was both intrigued and intimidated. What I found over time was that the business portion of running a law practice was fun. Fun, and fraught with unknowns. In short, it’s an absolute blast. Have I experienced setbacks, periods of self-doubt, staffing issues, risk management, and a myriad of other obstacles? Of course. Every person contemplating starting their solo practice needs to accept that the journey is not for the faint of heart, or for those afraid of failure. The ability to tap into your entrepreneurial spirit to find your inner savvy business skills and to successfully represent the clients you choose to help is a dream come true.